The second stop of our USA trip was Las Vegas. After spending most of our day in the car driving from Santa Monica through Route 66, we finally reached the infamous Las Vegas Strip.
It was late afternoon when we got there, and we drove from the north of the Strip towards the south, and that’s how I got my first glimpse of Vegas. We drove past basically all the casinos, and as I looked out through the window all I saw was people. And more people, walking up and down the Strip. It was quite lit, in a sense that you can see that it was very lively even in the afternoon on a weekday, and with all the billboards, big TV screens, and the lights, it was clearly no ordinary street. Oxford Street isn’t even comparable here (obviously). It’s just way too different.
I felt like the idea of Las Vegas is beyond the extent of my knowledge. It’s a whole different realm, a very unique kind of space that does not quite match with what I already knew about cities and places in general.
Visually, it feels weird to see a fake Eiffel Tower, and then moments later there’s a modern complex with glass windows that reminded me of the skyscrapers in Seoul. And shortly after this you’ll see some New York landmark skyscrapers next to a Middle Age castle, next to an Egyptian pyramid. It’s just SO STRANGE. But I guess this is the whole point of Las Vegas – you don’t have to travel to Paris, New York, or Cairo to see all of these – you are able to see all of them on just one Strip in the middle of the desert.
Little did I know, it’s even more LIT to see Las Vegas at night. It really did feel like what I have been seeing in the films. One night (as us 20-somethings do) we decided to go on a casino crawl – going from the south part of the Strip, walking all the way towards the north and going into every casino (sort of). We started at New York New York, but after four hours we were only up to Caesars Palace (we had to start early in the morning so we had to go back to the hotel). Since after four hours we were actually starting to feel knackered, and my friend and I actually got lost and we couldn’t find the rest of us lol. So at the end we didn’t even get to go into Bellagio or the Venetian. Shame. But imagine, that’s the scale of the Las Vegas Strip. It really is massive.
One thing that stands out from my opinion on Las Vegas is that…I just thought everything was really fake and artificial. Especially New York New York, and there is a particular moment that made me feel that way. One evening we walked from The Excalibur to New York New York through the footbridge. The moment I got in, I just thought the interior did not live up to my expectation after seeing the exterior. While the exterior looks quite decent with all the roller coaster and skyscrapers (it’s great as in scale, but I still think it is quite fake), the interior is nothing more than a small and old shopping arcade (more like shopping corridor…?). Especially with the low ceiling and the small space packed with people. It’s even worse than the neighbourhood shopping centre that I used to go frequently in Surrey. And definitely worse than the small arcade near where I live in HK. (Although I enjoyed the chicken burger at Shake Shack. A LOT. It was before chicken burgers were available in Shake Shack UK, it was like heaven!!!)
I feel like Vegas is portrayed as super glamorous in popular culture, and there’s also a certain mysterious charm to it – ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’. But according what I’ve encountered, this is what I think about Las Vegas. On the surface it seemed like a hybrid of the world – you’ve got a Middle Age castle, Egyptian pyramid, Venice, Paris, Palace, all on one ‘street’, and it’s convenient. It’s certainly out of this world. But at the end of the day they are all places of consumerism. I just thought it’s a bit superficial…but I mean of course there are people who like it, it’s just not my cup of tea. It’s just really WEIRD to be in a place like Las Vegas, because it’s so different from what I’ve experienced living in cities. I felt disoriented a lot of the times, because honestly you could be anywhere. When you ask yourself the question ‘where am I?’, the answer could be anything. You could be in Middle Age England, Egypt, New York, Paris, the canals of Venice, a Greek God’s palace…it goes on, you get the idea. It’s beyond normal understanding. I guess this is why people who like Las Vegas like it so much, because it is, in a way, a hyperreality. You don’t lose track of what is happening in the real world, yet the whole landscape gives you a holiday vibe because it’s not really real. I’m probably talking a lot of nonsense here…oops.
Anyhow, after spending three days in Las Vegas, I was really happy to be able to go back to California again. As bad as this sounds, I was actually really glad that the Las Vegas part of the trip was over, I couldn’t wait to leave this weird place (sorry not sorry…). Next stop – San Francisco!
I’m still trying to figure out how will I go about writing a US trip series. I’ve actually written a lot on California already, but it’s just the matter of organising them. So stay tuned if you want to read more! YAY.
If I don’t publish a new post before Christmas and New Year (that really depends on my mood to be very honest, and it fluctuates a lot…so no promises here…), I wish you all a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year with your loved ones!! YAY!!!
Thank you so much for reading. It’s been almost three years since I started blogging seriously. For all new and returning readers, thank you SO MUCH for your support. I started with zero readers (and tbh I still don’t have a big following but we all know who’s to blame…the blogger who doesn’t blog…), but now at least I have friends and family who support me in doing this. To be fair, I can’t believe people are actually interested in reading what I think about things. Recently I’ve been doubting myself more than ever about everything, and this blog is also one of the many things that I think about. I haven’t been putting 100% effort in this blog, and don’t have a big following, and it wouldn’t matter that much if I just stop doing it. But then as I wrote this Las Vegas post, I realised I actually need a space to vent and to write about the places I’ve been to and what I’ve experienced (basically what’s in my head really). And then I remembered my parents actually aren’t against the idea of me blogging (doing it as a career is a different thing so…lol still a hobby for now), and my friends who read my posts and actually like them. So I’ll try harder to write more here from now on. (well, still mood-dependent but I’ll try to be happy about it more lol)
Every single click means the world to me. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU SO MUCH. And I really mean it.
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